Why are we all doing the same things?

Discussion in 'Quests & Lore' started by Lord_Darkmoon, May 27, 2016.

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  1. Lord_Darkmoon

    Lord_Darkmoon Avatar

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    I know this is a common problem with MMORPGs. The content is there for everyone but I thought that SotA wanted to make things different, wanted to tell a multiplayer story that made sense and would be different...

    So everyone arrives at Solace Bridge or Highvale. Everyone needs the key to the gates, everyone is looking for the same missing girl, everyone is looking for the same artifact hidden in Highvale, everone is bringing the amulet of the dying guard to the captain...

    Yet we are all aware that there are other outlanders in the world who arrived in Novia. Thus we are all aware that every outlander is doing the exact same things.

    Somehow this is really bothering me in SotA. It doesn't matter to me in other MMOs, like SWTOR or WoW, but it bothers me in SotA. Because I thought that quests would be handled differently in this game and also that our actions would really have lasting effects on the world.

    Hasn't Richard said that he didn't want to do the quests the same way other MMOs do them? Didn't he say that stories in MMOs didn't make sense the way they were told up to now and that he came up with an idea of how to tell a meaningful story in an onlinegame? Yet, the quests play and feel like in any other MMO. What is so special about them? What is this special way of telling in a story in SotA? I can't see any difference in doing the quests in this game compared to any other MMO...
     
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  2. enderandrew

    enderandrew Legend of the Hearth

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    In a single player game, everyone is also doing the same quests.
     
  3. GreyMouser Skye

    GreyMouser Skye Avatar

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    Well, in single player Offline, there are no other outlanders... hmm, I wonder if the dialogue changes knowing that. Or do we just talk about the other outlanders but no one ever sees them?

    But your points are valid. :)
     
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  4. redfish

    redfish Avatar

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    The only way you can have everyone do something else entirely is by driving the story through generated quests; but if you're not generating quests, I don't see how players can't share the same story elements.

    But we do have selective multiplayer, which lets the game sort out instances and lets us be in scenes solo, so not everyone is standing around and talking to the same critical quest character getting the same information. There'll be some part of the game we know that will require player initiative, when the Cabalists come online and towns go under siege. I think we know really little of LBs bigger plans right now.
     
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  5. Lord_Darkmoon

    Lord_Darkmoon Avatar

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    Yet in a single player game there are not other heroes in your world and no is making bold claims to redefine how the stories are told to make sense and have meaning in a multiplayer envornoment ;)
     
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  6. agra

    agra Avatar

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    Procedural questing is possible. Dwarf Fortress and other games use it today. In the distant past, Darklands used it. It was suggested to use it in Shroud 2+ years ago on these forums (that I recall reading) and was not considered, or ignored, or whatever, not used.

    Personal story lines that are completely unique (or unique w/ arc milestones) are reasonably straightforward both to design and implement. Many video games have done this. Portalarium has chosen not to.

    As far as regional reputation, that too is reasonably easy to do, has been done in other games, was in Meridian59 in 1996 and EQ1 in 1999 both, but again, not in Shroud, by choice, at the moment.
     
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  7. Lord_Darkmoon

    Lord_Darkmoon Avatar

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    I just want to know how the quests of SotA differ from the quests of other MMORPGs when Richard has said that he has found a new way of telling a meaningful story in a multiplayer game. Because playing the game and doing the quests is like doing the quests in any other MMO.
    I think that this is a legitimate question.
     
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  8. enderandrew

    enderandrew Legend of the Hearth

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    Skyrim and Fallout 4 use procedural questing. For an online game you want to sink tons of time into, it might make sense but I know the Fallout players in particular complain non-stop about the procedural/radiant quests.
     
  9. redfish

    redfish Avatar

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    Procedural questing would be cool; I'm just not sure its what RG had in mind for his main story. I think we'll still have to see.
     
  10. agra

    agra Avatar

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    Given what's been designed, described, and implemented to date? I would suspect the new way is simply the social matching thing that happens so your friends appear in your version of the instance. That aside, I haven't personally seen any 'new way' that hasn't appeared in another game already. (even the journal) Behind the scenes, quests are pretty much always the same, which is why it's pretty straightforward to generate them procedurally. quest-giver, task, flag. Player interacts with quest giver, performs task, gets flags (including rewards, etc).
    Even things like public quests in other games have the same thing, it's just more incremental/iterative in the task/flag stage.

    This page has a pretty good outline (and pseudo/code) of what's involved.

    In a larger context, the unique path w/ arc milestones is similar, it's just more like: the larger task or quest requires a reputation of base+50 before you can advance to the next stage/area. What you do to get that reputation is a personal choice of 10, 20, or 30 static or procedurally generated tasks unique for you. So, you meet the milestone, but how you get to each milestone creates a unique story for that player. While this creates a very convincing illusion of personal choice, you still herd the players along the milestone path, so everyone gets to where they should in the story you're trying to tell.

    Regional glyphs, regional reputation bonuses & buffs, unlocked daily regional tasks, unlocked regional access, things like that, are typically all seen as very rewarding. Time & effort invested = tangible rewards.
     
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  11. Ashlynn [Pax]

    Ashlynn [Pax] Avatar

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    It's mostly due to the nature of MMORPGs (and SotA is an MMO like it or not). Everyone is a hero so no one is special. Same applies to unique or special quest items, weapons, spells, artifacts, etc.

    And a major part of it is that when designers are creating the quests and storylines to go in to a big multiplayer game, they STILL opt to treat the player like they are the only one doing the quest or they are some kind of chosen one (tm) or something. And the quest is written accordingly. So it's just even more jarring when Chosen One 4887 is lining up to talk to Archmage Exclamation Mark to turn in their 10 dire bear asses after saving the town of AdjectiveNoun from the evil bear menace. Alongside all the other people who have done the same thing. And the world is usually static anyway and doesn't change regardless. You may have saved the town from rabid bears, but the town won't change in any way and will still be plagued by bears. Because all those other players need to do that quest too.

    A more sensible approach would be to design quests, storylines, and character dialogue that takes fully into account hundreds of other people are doing the same thing too. But I've rarely seen that done.
     
  12. Duke Gréagóir

    Duke Gréagóir Legend of the Hearth

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    I am happy I have not received a quest like "Kill 5 rats and get a piece of cheese". Those are the quests I believe Richard was talking about that other MMOs have, and the ? and ! on top of the NPC heads.

    As for single player games, how do you know no other heroes are around? Maybe they are on the other side of the world? Perhaps after you came arrived they died in an epic battle and since there is no hero survivor no takes can be written of such feats? After a period of time maybe Lord British thinks you perished since no word came back to him by pigeon and dispatches another hero to save the world as the original problem still exists.

    Many ways can happen. Only the victor's take is told for generations to come.
     
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  13. smack

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    Unfortunately, all dialog is 100% the same regardless of game mode. So, yeah, the NPCs will refer to other non-existent outlanders.

    I think they could have done it for certain types of quests or tasks but yeah, they did not go down this route. Either due to competing priorities, design goals or lack of tech / time / budget / etc.

    Those were limited to the side or misc quests. All of the main quests were custom. Bruce Nesmith did a talk about their Radiant Story tech, which I posted here.

    As it pertains to Story, from this post (video transcription):
    Richard: We've created a new story. This new story is, everyone has a role to play, and while we can't tell you about "winning" this game and how and why that may transpire either similarly or profoundly differently for every player that plays it, that's the challenge we wanted to undertake. So fear not that is exactly what we're doing. So I don't know if Tracy you want to allude to a little bit about how we're telling a multiplayer story.
    Tracy: So I guess the answer to that is yes, there is a very good reason why there are so many avatars who are here. Not only does it not break the story, it is an integral part of the story. And is there a destiny for an avatar? Absolutely. Absolutely. We just can't tell you about it.


    As it pertains to Quests, I have yet to see any evidence of this demonstrated in the game.
     
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  14. Lord Aventine

    Lord Aventine Avatar

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    Might superior quest line story writing be the answer?

    And quest decisions that somehow roll up to affect your virtue standing with the Oracle?
     
  15. Fionwyn Wyldemane

    Fionwyn Wyldemane Avatar

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    Mo, Larry...cheeez!

    Yeah...while I love both The Three Stooges and cheese, I am so glad I don't have to do those *Mo, Larry* kinds of quests in SoTA. Kill five rats, kill 20 wolves, kill 10 spiders...it was all the same quest, just a different skin on the critter and a different area of the game. Soooo boring.
     
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  16. Lord Dreamo

    Lord Dreamo Avatar

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    As a light roleplayer I learned to just accept the quests as something of a side storytelling content not directly related to my character's own story. I do the quests, but I don't absorb them as part of my character.
     
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  17. enderandrew

    enderandrew Legend of the Hearth

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    There are things they can do to better improve immersion. I was playing a kid's game with my daughter. I noticed the shared instance we were in looked different if we were on different stages of a quest. An NPC was kidnapped in my universe (I was a step ahead of her) where as my daughter still saw the NPC. I saw a book she dropped on the ground.

    Having items present or not present based on quest flags would allow you to change the world even in an online game.
     
  18. Lord Dreamo

    Lord Dreamo Avatar

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    In some ways that can ruin immersion too. Now suddenly you aren't seeing the same world. It's an odd thing in general that there is no real perfect solution for.
     
  19. RoStudios

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    I'm also concerned that there are not going to be enough quests . I really like questing, and not grinding wolves l day. I know this is open sandbox, however, I want my sandbox to have quest options.
     
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  20. Rofo

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    Story wise, you are the only Avatar, the rest are just outlanders.

    Personally I wish you could escape those scenes without partaking in the quest at all,
    At least the NPC should react when you tell them.. "I don't care that your dying, please hurry up and finish so I can loot you too".
    Instead you get some vague dialog about please take his amulet, and he shoves some crap in your pocket.

    New Questing advancement wise. It's effectively the same as UO NPC's. I few npc's respond when their keyword tree is activated.
    Occasionally, you can run into an NPC where the dialog keyword tree has had enough work put into it that you can get a somewhat normal converstation out of them.
    But they are far and few in between, mostly it's just hunt for the trigger word, wait for the explosion of Text that looks like the slot machine just rolled all 7's followed by yellow text refering to your journal.
    Read journal see what you have to do next, move on.

    I think really the only thing that isn't fairly common in modern MMO's is that some NPC's will whisper you (some of which may lead to a quest eventually)
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
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